Fowler & Company helps leaders build great organizations and better lives; for themselves and their teams. We do this by helping our clients in three primary areas of focus; Strategy + Execution; Performance Excellence and Executive Coaching.

Training for Emotional Intelligence at Starbucks

“At best, IQ contributes about 20% to the factors that determine success, which leaves 80% to other forces; these forces are Emotional Intelligence”

- Daniel Goleman

Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee (no reasonable person would pay that much for just coffee).

Ask any Starbucks executive what they sell and they will tell you it is customer service.

So, what do you do if you are a Starbucks executive in charge of a $250 million dollar advertising budget, when one of your employees scribes the word “b**tch” (female dog) on a customer’s cup rather than her name?

Continue to imagine that after this experience this customer goes home, calls the local TV station, changes into a lovely blue blouse and meets the news reporter in front of your Starbucks store to tell the world the story.

I assure that this story will get replayed for more often than anything you paid for with your $250M budget.

What do you do?


Starbucks decided to train its employees in Emotional Intelligence. Read more…

4 Things I Learned from “Happy”

“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.”

-William E. Gladstone

As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife is on bed rest, 36 weeks pregnant with the next Fowler (modified bed rest at this time – thank you Lord!).

As a deliberate battle against the overwhelm of undone tasks one experiences with two young children and a wife on bedrest, I decided we should watch movies while the girls nap on Saturdays.

So far, the only complete movie we’ve watched is The Nutty Professor – it was a worthy choice (kudos to Jill).

But, as we were perusing the list of free Amazon Prime movies this past weekend, I stumbled upon this movie – and I can’t stop recommending it to people!

(Disclosure: Jill and I have not actually watched this film together, but plan to. We ended up watching multiple episodes of the Big Bang Theory instead – who knew that TV show plays almost continuously on weekends? I had to get up at 5am and watch “Happy” from the bike trainer!)

Here is what I learned from this great film.


I love the positive psychology movement and this movie is a documentary that explores the findings of the movement to see who are the happiest people in the world and why.

I learned a lot from this very entertaining film, but here are my top 4 take aways.  Read more…

How Starbucks Trains Its People

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.


Starbucks has been very successful. Below are a few facts:

  • Starbucks has grown by an average of two stores per day for the last 27 years,
  • Starbucks plan to add 1,000 stores in China alone next year,
  • Starbucks spends more on employee healthcare than coffee beans, and…
  • Starbucks stock is worth over 23x what it sold for in 1992.

They’ve done good, real good!

Why? Great people and amazing training!

Keep reading to find out how Starbucks trains its partners to deliver an amazing experience every time.


From the beginning, Starbucks recognized the value of the customer experience.

Without a great experience, why would anyone pay that much for coffee? Read more…

The Blessing of Bed Rest (a husband’s perspective)

For me, not my wife.

She is going stir crazy!

Fowler Child

My wife is 35 weeks pregnant with our next child. After several trips to the doctor’s office last week she was put on bed rest. Our other children are ages two and three and are not what you’d call low maintenance. Read more…

Work Less, Accomplish More

“It might seem counterintuitive that you will perform better at work if you spend more time with your kids, leave work early to volunteer at a local nonprofit, or take an hour out of your workday to go to the gym. But that’s just what happens.”

– Stewart Friedman, Wharton Professor and former head of Ford’s Leadership Center


Have you snuck out of the office to exercise at lunch or for a quick lunch date with your wife and returned to work with almost startling clarity?

In contrast, have you ever beaten your head against a problem at work for hours on end only to find the solution slipping farther and farther away?

While many of us have felt more effective at work after we take a break from it, few of us have the gumption to make working less a habit when our responsibilities and to do lists continue to grow at the office.

Turns out that by working more, we are missing an incredible opportunity to work less, but accomplish more.

Read on to learn how.

Work Less

The data above was captured by Stew Friedman. He is a Wharton Professor and the former head of Ford Motor’s Leadership Development Center. After his work with Ford, it became hailed as a “global benchmark” in leadership development. Friedman is noted as one of the world’s top 50 business thinkers. In other words, this guy pretty much knows what he is talking about. Read more…

How Starbucks Hires the Best

“The easiest way to ensure that your employees smile when they greet a customer, is to only hire employees who smile all the time.”

– Howard Schultz

Starbucks starting pay is not much more than minimum wage.

Employees have to clean toilets and are expected to smile all of the time.

Yet, it is perennially on most of the best places to work lists. And their turnover rate is half of the retail industry average.


Last week we talked about how Starbucks continuously delivers excellent experiences to their customers. It is clear Starbucks has some great processes and those processes are part of how they deliver excellent customer service. It is also clear that they would not have a chance of delivering that service without great people. Read more…

Executive Health Secrets of the Amish

The traditional Amish diet is considered by most doctors to be terribly unhealthy.

It is high in fat, sugar, salt and calories.

They eat relatively few vegetables.

They spend much of their time working in the cancer causing sun, don’t partake in modern medical diagnostics and even have bad genes.

And I’ve never seen a gym in an Amish community.

But, they have lower rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They age better and most are able to do hard, physical labor into their old age.

What gives?

According to Dr. Alan Shuldiner, who has led more than a dozen studies of the Amish in Pennsylvania, their genes are not the reason they are healthier. Shuldiner says that many Amish have genes that cause high cholesterol and obesity, while some have a gene variation that actually protects their heart.

In the end, the affect of genes on the Amish’s health is about a wash.

Then what in the world causes them to be so healthy? Read more…

How Starbucks Rocks Their Customers

Starbucks charges $4+ for a cup of coffee…

And people keep buying.


Below are 5 ways Starbucks delivers the kind of customer experience required to get people to make $4 coffee a daily habit. Which of these ideas could you implement in your business?


Read more…

Science Proves the Existence of God?

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system. I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.”

-Sir Isaac Newton

“Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God” – that was the headline of a recent Wall Street Journal article.

As a Christian and someone who has probably spent way too much time in higher ed environments I’ve always been a little (hate to say this) but self-conscious about my faith. I love apologetics and have read a few good books on the subject, but trying to defend my faith against a scientist pulling for the other side has always scared me a bit.

I’ve always wanted the most “learned” people in the world to believe in God like I do, but faith is not something that is prized at the institutions of higher learning. In fact, it is pretty much looked down upon.

That is why I found this article so exciting! A mainstream publication – the Wall Street Journal, no less – publishing a well written article on how science is having an increasingly hard time justifying our universe without some form of divine creator.

If you’d like to learn more about what the article said, please read on.

The article starts out referring to a 1966 Time magazine cover story asking: “Is God Dead?” The concept was that as science progresses there will be less need for a “God” to explain the universe. In other words as we become smarter and understand more about our universe, we won’t need to rely on the “God Crutch” to explain how all this got started. Read more…

A New Year’s Challenge

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

- Socrates

Welcome back! I hope the holidays were wonderful for you and your family. I know they were for ours.

Before we launch into accomplishing our goals and learning more about how to build great organizations, I wanted to issue you a challenge that I received just this morning.

The problem with this challenge is that it requires us to overcome two limitations. These two limitations will present themselves in practically everything you try to accomplish this year. Let’s first determine how to overcome this limitations, then I’ll present you the challenge. Read more…